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Mount Macolod part 2

The reduction of Mount Macolod

2 April, the 187th attacked and cleared the area to the base of the mountain, but were unable to hold the ridges. One pocket of the enemy were dug in between the two southern ridges and small Japanese patrols were strewn along the highway near Talisay, indicating to Colonel Pearson that the enemy held that sector. His feelings were confirmed when his command post was hit with Japanese 155mm artillery shells. The quick reactions of the 674th Glider Field Artillery Battalion to counterattack saved the 2d 187th.

Shelling Mt. Macolod

Captured Japanese artillery, Mt. Macolod

8 April, General MacArthur released a communiqué to state that because of the 11th Airborne’s actions, “…all organized enemy resistance in the southern part of the island was destroyed and liberation was at hand.” As usual, his assessment of the situation was premature, but it was just the type of enthusiasm that endeared him to the Filipino people. His optimism gave them the strength to persevere through some gruesome events; such as when the 2d moved through Sulac, the men found one hundred Filipinos brutally massacred and discarded in a ravine.

7-17 April, the battles around Macolod continued making this one of the bloodiest battles the 187th ever fought. The regiment received massive downpours of artillery, but when the troopers discovered that the guns were all grouped together, they were eradicated. The 187th was exhausted by this point and diminished even further by casualties and wounded, but rest was not on the schedule.

18 April, Col. Pearson brought in tanks and 155mm howitzers to coordinate with the 187th and their fighting would continue for two more days. The 11th Airborne had pushed the Japanese back to Malepunyo. On the 19th, any cave found near the 1st battalion was sealed. Those hideouts discovered near Cuenca Ravine had gasoline drums rolled into them and were ignited by grenades. This not only killed a number of enemy soldiers, but also eliminated the vegetation that would normally provide cover and possible infiltration routes by the enemy. When the battle for Macolod was over on the 20th, the regiment had 13 casualties and 11 wounded.

12 April 1945, while sitting for a portrait, the President of the United States, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, collapsed and died. The unsuccessful haberdasher, Harry S. Truman, would take over the reins of the country.

telegram of FDR’s death

Click on images to enlarge and read.

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Current News – 

The USS Samuel B. Jackson, has been found 4 miles beneath the Philippine Sea.

The USS Samuel B. Roberts sank during a battle off the Philippines’ central island of Samar on Oct. 25, 1944.  The vessel had engaged the Japanese fleet as U.S. forces worked to liberate the Philippines, which was then a U.S. territory, from occupation. The skirmish was the final engagement of the larger Battle of Leyte Gulf.

Eighty-nine of its 224 crew members were killed, according to the newspaper.

“This site is a hallowed war grave,” retired Rear Adm. Sam Cox, head of the Naval History and Heritage Command in Washington.

The Sammy B was hit by a Japanese battleship and sank, along with the USS Johnston

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Military Humor – 

How Willie and Joe bore up under the elements… “Now that you mention it, it does sound like the patter of rain on a tin roof”

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Farewell Salutes – 

Jack Avis – Westfield, CT; US Army, WWII, ETO

William L. Ball – Keene, NH; US Army, WWII

Chester J. Bochenek – Chicago, IL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, B-29 bombardier

Frank Celentano – Simsbury, CT; US Army, WWII, Silver Star

Richard “Bud” Gill – Smithfield, VA; USMC, WWII, PTO

Daniel Krauss – Albrightsville, PA; US Army, 503rd Regiment (Airborne)

Felix Marcello – N. Versailles, PA; US Army, Korea, Co D/187th RCT

Edward N. Patterson Sr. – MO; US Army, 11th Airborne Division

Jeffrey A. Peters – Newark, OH; US Army, Sgt., 101st Airborne Division

Ray Shadden – Nacogdoches, TX; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 187/11th Airborne Division

Book Review | “IN THE MOUTH OF THE LION” by J. Guenther

J. Guenther

I was privileged to receive this novel brilliantly authored by J. Guenther.  This book transports you back to the days many of your relatives lived through – to the European Theater of WWII – the war that changed the world.

You will find easy reading and rest assured, no previous military or secret service experience or knowledge is required.  This work has been tirelessly researched by the author and it shows.  You’ll find characters you recognize, and should you not be familiar with their history, there are short bios in the rear of the story.

Allen Dulles: being in charge of the OSS, (predecessor of the CIA), at the Bern, Switzerland office.

Mary Bancroft: employee of the OSS and girlfriend to Dulles, after reading one of the agency’s handbooks, felt qualified to set off into the excitement and danger  of being a spy.  In my opinion, she was perhaps an exaggerated example of how that generation went above and beyond for the sake of trying to correct what was horribly wrong with the world.

Dr. Carl Jung

Just imagine driving eminent psychologist, Carl Jung, into Germany to meet with and psychoanalyze Adolph Hitler himself!!

Just when you feel the suspense is over, more questions arise to intrigue you – you stay riveted, turning page after page,  as even more familiar names come on the scene in this well-paced adventure.

I’ll say no more of the story for fear of divulging too much – and it’s up to you, but I couldn’t help but have an Ah-Hah moment at the very end.

I should add, that at the very end of the book is also a psychological explanation of Hitler’s “voice”, of which I found very interesting.

I recommend this book to all.

“IN THE MOUTH OF THE LION”, by: J. Guenther

To reach J. Guenther or simply purchase a copy of “IN THE MOUTH OF THE LION”, or any of his other books _____HERE @ WordPress or @ Amazon HERE

OR:  Here at Goodreads

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Current News – 

The Navy has announced the names of the cruisers that it wants to decommission as part of the latest budget proposal, as well as confirming that all the Freedom-class littoral combat ships — including one that is less than two years old — are headed for scrap.

USS Bunker Hill (CS-52)

A Navy spokesman confirmed that the five cruisers slated for the cut are: USS Bunker Hill (CG-52), USS Mobile Bay (CG-53), USS San Jacinto (CG-56), USS Lake Champlain (CG-57) and USS Vicksburg (CG-69).

The Navy also confirmed that all of its Freedom-class littoral combat ships — the USS Fort Worth (LCS-3), USS Milwaukee (LCS-5), USS Detroit (LCS-7), USS Little Rock (LCS-9), USS Sioux City (LCS-11), USS Wichita (LCS-13), USS Billings (LCS-15), USS Indianapolis (LCS 17) and USS St. Louis (LCS-19).

11 of the ships slated for decommissioning are less than 10 years old and singled out the USS St. Louis as being less than two years old and two of the 24 ships as “currently in modernization.”

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Military Humor – 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Emile Alito Jr. – New Orleans, LA; US Navy, WWII, USS Mt. McKinley, radioman

Rockwood T. Benjamin – New Haven, CT; US Coast Guard, WWII  /  US Army, Korea, Sgt.

OUR FLAG
Courtesy of: Dan Antion

La Vern Buist – Mendon, UT; US Army, WWII, PTO, 1879th Aviation Engineer Battalion

Michael W. Caldwell – Quincey, IL; US Army, Vietnam, 82nd Airborne Division, Silver Star

Aubrey Churhman – KS; US Army Air Corps, WWII, C-46 & 47 pilot

Joseph F. Coda (103) – Lodi, NJ; US Army, WWII, Bronze Star

Norman C. Glenn – Garden City, SC; USMC, WWII

George Kittel – Brooklyn, NY; US Army, WWII, ETO

Verl E. Luzena (100) – Bradford, OH; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, Signal Corps, cameraman

Nehemiah Persoff – brn: ISR; US Army, WWII, Special Services (Entertainment unit)  / Beloved actor

Elvin L. Phillips – Salt Lake City, UT; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, Sgt. # 19011888, B-24 gunner, 66th BS/44h BG/8th Air Force, KIA (Bucharest, ROM)

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Smitty’s Letter XVI “Guard Duty” conclusion

It’s lonely out there.

In the event that you missed the previous post, Cpl. Smith serving in the 11th Airborne during WWII, was attempting to visualize his first experience at standing guard duty in a combat zone to his mother in a letter.

At one point, the situation appears critical and the next – a comedy of errors.  Nevertheless, this half of the letter describes his four-hour rest period and the following two hours of standing guard.  Hope you stick around to see how he does.

*****          *****          *****

Guard Duty (con’t)

“As soon as your relief man comes along, you strut back to your tent feeling as proud as all hell knowing that you are a conqueror of the night and a tried and true veteran of the guard.  You are supposed to get four hours of rest or sleep before going on for your second shift, but for some reason or another the time just flits away and just as you close your eyes in deep slumber — in walks the sergeant of the guard and out you go sleepily rubbing your eyes wondering how in the devil you are ever going to keep awake for the next two hours.

“As you sit on the stump of a tree surveying what you have just four hours ago mentally overcame, you begin to think of home.  Now, thinking of home is alright in the daytime with a load of griping G.I.s around, but at night on a lonesome post, it is strictly out.  Not only do you think of things you shouldn’t, but soon you are feeling sad and more lonely than ever knowing that no one cares and that the whole world is against you.  Not only is this bad for you, it doesn’t even help to pass the time.

” You turn your thoughts elsewhere trying next to figure out what the cooks will try to feed you tomorrow.  Here again is a very poor time-passing thought as you know damn well they’ll feed you bully-beef in its most gruesome form.  Soon your eyes feel heavy again and seem like they’re going to close and you wonder if it would be okay to light up a cigarette. 

 “Here again the book says what to do, but heck, as I said before, the guy who wrote it isn’t out here, so what does he know?  You daringly light one up, trying desperately to shield the light and take a big, deep drag.  I found that it isn’t the inhaling of the cigarette that keeps you awake, but the ever constant threat of being caught in the act.  You look at your watch and find to your dismay that you still have an hour and forty-five minutes left to go.

“Damn but the time sure does drag along.  Wonder why it doesn’t speed up and pass on just as it does when you are off.  Oh!  Well, sit down again and hum a tune or two, maybe that will help.  Gosh, sure wish someone would come along to talk.  Ho-hum, lets see now.  What will I do tomorrow on my time off?  This last thought is sure to pass away in 15 to 20 minutes, but why it should, I don’t know.  You know damn well that no matter what you may plan for tomorrow’s off-time, it will only be discarded and you will spend that time in bed asleep. 

Aleutians, 1943

” Light up another cigarette, sweat it out, swear a little at the dragging time, hum another tune, think more about home, think of you and the army, swear good and plenty and after that thought — look at your watch.

“Hey — what goes on here? — that damn relief is over a half-minute late — who does he think he is anyway?  Swear.  Brother how you are swearing and cursing now.  Oh!  Oh!  There’s a light coming your way — the relief.  “Oh boy, sleep ahead.”

“So long bud, the whole damn post is yours.  Take it easy, it ain’t too bad.  Goodnite.”  —  And so ends your first night of guard duty as you wearily drag yourself to your bunk too damn tired to even undress.

“Hey Mom, hope you enjoyed this as much as some of the others here did.  Meant to send this off before now, but you know me.

“Love,  Everett”

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Lawrence L. Brown – USA; US Army, Cpl., Co. M/3/9/2nd Infantry Division, KIA (POW Camp # 5, NK)

Louis “Red” Carter – Attapulgus, GA; US Merchant Marines, WWII, PTO/ETO

Long may she wave!!
(courtesy of Dan Antion)

Wesley O. Garrett – So. Trenton, NY; US Army, WWII, ETO, Sgt., 84th Infantry Division, Bronze Star, Purple Heart

Gail S. Halvorsen (101) Salt Lake City, UT; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Colonel, “The Candy Bomber”, pilot (Ret. 32 y.)

Harvey C. Herber – Tacoma, WA; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Electrician’s Mate 1st Class, USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor, HI)

Francis J. Jury – USA; US Army, Korea, Cpl., Heavy Mortar Co./32/7th Infantry Division, KIA (Chosin Reservoir, NK)

Mary (Sullivan) Mann – Braintree, MA; US Navy WAVE, WWII

Jack R. Pathman – Chicago, IL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, bomber/radio instructor

William Sieg Sr, – Winlock, WA; US Navy, WWII

Henry E. Stevens (102) – New Britain, CT; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Tuscaloosa, Naval Academy graduate

John A. Trucano (100) – Vineland, NJ; US Army, WWII, ETO, Military Police

Henry Zanetti – Lee, MA; US Army, WWII, SSgt.

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“Where Shall I Flee?” by: Anne Clare

“Where Shall I Flee?” by: Anne Clare

“Where Shall I Flee?”  by:  Anne Clare

One does not need to be a WWII buff or a lover of historical fiction to enjoy this accomplishment.  I recommend it to ALL!

Being as I normally read and report non-fiction, I was very impressed with Anne Clare’s realistic characterization and portrayal of WWII in Italy.  By showing the characters had their own faults and by not romanticizing war, she uses perpetual advancement to draw the reader ever further into their lives.

US Army on Anzio beachhead

Anne Clare is an avid history reader/researcher who asks, “What if?”  The end result is a suspenseful story that brings you into the sphere of action in Anzio and beyond, plus their own personal conflicts.

A nurse who isn’t quite sure why she’s there, to the soldiers of different backgrounds and how they connect – from combat, to being prisoners,  to their own attempts at survival.  You see the true evolvement of camaraderie.

Ms. Clare possesses a delicate, yet intense method for showing place, character and events.  How they meld together to transport the reader back to 1944, along with the physical and emotional upheaval of that era.

56th Evac Hospital, WWII

Nurse Jean Hoff, the heroine of this tale, not only tries to heal the wounded, but finds that a gruff Corporal can show her how to heal own wounds.

The plot is woven to hold you in suspense, with no wish to lay the volume down.

Come and enter their world and perhaps you will learn as they did.

Anne Clare’s blog – where you can also read her informative posts and/or purchase her books.

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE.

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Josephine Baker – WWII Spy

Josephine Baker in her Free French Air Force uniform

I knew she was a superstar, but this story was new to me!

https://www.military.com/history/josephine-baker-was-first-black-superstar-and-world-war-iis-most-unlikely-spy.html?ESRC=dod_220204.nl

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Military Humor – 

“Too much beer last night, Miss Pringle?”

“What makes you think the WACs are coming to this camp?”

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Farewell Salutes – 

Roydean L. Adams – Pryor, OK; USMC, WWII, PTO, Cpl.

Russell Barry Sr. – NYC, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, HQ Co/327/101st Airborne Division

Edward H. Benson – Roanoke County, VA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Pfc. # 13118798, 1562nd Army Air Corps Base, KIA (Biak Island

Grady H. Canup – Greenwood, SC; US Army, WWII, ETO, SSgt. # 34093884, Co C/1/12/4th Infantry Division, Bronze Star, KIA (Hürtgen Forest, GER)

Lloyd Davidson – Irons, MI; US Navy, WWII, ATO

Cary S. Eleser – Slidell, LA; US Navy, WWII

Paul T. Kuras – San Antonio, TX; USMC, Aviation Engineer (Ret. 20 y.)

Andrew J. Ladner – Harrison City, MS; US Army, WWII, PTO, Pvt. # 34133073, 126/32nd Infantry Division, Bronze Star, KIA (Huggin Roadblock, Papua, NG)

Alfred O’Neill – Rhinelander, WI; US Army, WWII, ETO, Korea & Vietnam, Sgt. Major (Ret. 30 y.) / West Point rifle team coach

Stanford I. Polonsky (101) – Winston-Salem, NC; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, Col. (Ret. 28 y.), Engineers/82nd Airborne Division

Clarence Stirewalt – Evans, GA; US Navy, WWII

Walter G. Wildman – Bristol, PA; US Army, WWII, ETO, Pvt. # 33589024, Co M/12/4th Infantry Division, Bronze Star, KIA (Hürtgen Forest, GER)

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HMAS Australia

HMAS Australia

A  ship with quite a colorful World War II history was the HMAS Australia, fondly known as “The Aussie”. The Aussie fought for almost the entire duration of the war. A county class cruiser commissioned in 1928 she was the second ship to bear the name of her country.

With the outbreak of WWII,  Aussie sailed for the Atlantic to begin her long wartime career that she was to fight on all fronts and against all enemies.  In September, 1940, she was in Operation Menace off Dakar, French West Africa.  Bombers of the Luftwaffe tried in vain to sink her whilst she was berthed alongside in Liverpool during the period when the city suffered its worst blitz. During her war service Aussie went everywhere.

In December 1941, when Japan entered the war with the Allies, Aussie became the flagship or Rear Admiral Crace, followed by Admiral Crutchley and then Commodore Collins.  In January 1942 the cruiser assisted in escorting the first US troops to Australia. Operating in the Coral Sea it pursued and attacked the Japanese from Guadalcanal to Hollandia, surviving everything its enemies could throw at her, until…

Aussie damage

HMAS Australia was needed badly by the R.A.N for she was the last surviving seaworthy member of the country’s heavy cruiser fleet the rest having been sunk and Hobart badly damaged. So she was quickly returned to active service.

She headed straight back to Philippine waters and on the afternoon of 5th January 1945 at Lingayen Gulf,  The Kamikazes targeted her again.  Her new Captain Armstrong flung the ship about wildly, but another bomb laden aircraft slammed into to her. The casualties were high – 25 men killed and 30 seriously wounded, most were badly needed guns crews.

Despite extensive damage she joined HMAS Shropshire and other US units to aid in the bombardment of San Fernando and Poro Point.  A new wave of Kamikazes then attacked, a Aichi ‘Val’ Dive Bomber surviving the murderous fire thrown up by all ships collided headlong into her upper deck exploding in an enormous fireball.  Several guns crews died instantly and a severe shock wave shuddered throughout the ship. This hit accounted for another 14 dead and 26 seriously wounded. by now Aussie’s AA defenses were all but eliminated.

Aussie damage

At dawn on 8th January, the allied fleet resumed its bombardment and the Kamikazes renewed their suicidal attacks.  Aussie was the last ship in the line and was once again singled out.   The Aussie’s gunners throwing up withering fire at a Mitsubishi “Dinah” Bomber until at last shooting it down, but not before it released its bomb which exploded close to the waterline, punching a large hole in the hull.

Taking a dangerous list to port another ‘Dinah’ roared in.  Those guns still in operation tore the bomber to bits and it showered down aviation fuel upon the sailors whilst its massive engine smashed through the bulkhead of the Captain’s Day Cabin. Within seconds another ‘Dinah’ roared in, the Aussie gunners frantically trying to shoot it down, succeeding, within just 15 metres, the propeller blades embedding themselves in a life-raft.  The aircraft skidded into the hull ripping another large hole and damaging yet another fuel tank, whilst two mess decks were completely destroyed. Aussie by now was in bad shape, her speed reduced to fifteen knots to avoid causing more damage,  still hung in and managed to continue the fight with what was left of her.

funnel damage

The following day the Japs decided to finish the Flagship off knowing she was almost dead in the water. As another plane raced in heading for her bridge its pilot misjudged his attack line and slammed into the yardarm slewing the aircraft around so as to miss the bridge area and taking out the top of the foremost funnel. Sliced off cleanly it crashed to the deck. There were no casualties from this hit but it spelled the end for Aussie. Two boilers had to be shut down because of insufficient updraft.  Aussie’s war had come to an end.

Information from the Royal Australian Navy Gun Plot; Australian Navy and Joey’s Walkabout

The Australian Navy link includes some fantastic photographs!

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE.

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Military Humor – 

“That meal was delicious, what went wrong with it?”

“Let’s go in here – they probably remember me from last night!”

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Farewell Salutes – 

Kenneth L. Bridger – Stevens County, WA; US Army, Korea, Pvt. E-2 # 19354338, KIA (Chosin Reservoir, NK)

Kevin J. Carroll – East Meadow, NY; USMC, Vietnam, Pfc., 3/1/Marine Aircraft Group 12, KIA (Quang Tin, SV)

William B. Coleman – Mobile, AL; US Army, WWII, ETO, Pfc. # 34803721, Co F/134/35th Infantry Division, Bronze Star, KIA (Grèmecey, FRA)

Roy C. Delauter – Washington County, MD; US Army, Korea, Sgt. # 13277149, Co D/1/32/7th Infantry Division, KIA (Chosin Reservoir, NK)

Kathleen (Gohl) Gilchrist – Royal Oak, MI, US Navy WAVE, WWII

Carson R. Holman – Newport, PA; US Army, Colonel(Ret. 30 y.), West Point graduate, 82nd Airborne Division

Errol Lagasse (100) – Panama City, FL; US Coast Guard, WWII, Chief Petty Officer

David F. Lutes – Sarasota, FL; US Army, Korea, 11th Airborne Division

Thomas McGee (102) – Bethesda, MD; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Korea & Vietnam, Tuskegee pilot, 409 missions in 3 wars  (remains a record), Colonel (Ret. 30 y.)

Bill Morrison – Birmingham, AL; US Army, WWII, ETO, Pfc., Co G/2/110/ 28th Infantry Division, KIA (Hürtgen Forest, GER)

Adolph Olenik – Gary, IN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, SSgt. # 15103844, B-24  “Kate Smith” gunner, 98th Heavy/345th Bomb Squadron, KIA (Ploesti, ROM)

Charles F. Perdue – Salisbury, MD; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Shipfitter 1st Class, USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor, HI)

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Mules in the CBI and their Veterinarians

Merrill’s Marauders

We often comment on the animals who help us, especially in war, BUT the Veterinarians who care for them are very rarely given a voice…

I received a message from Lavinia Ross @ Salmon Brook Farms about her veterinarian, D.E. Larsen, DVM and his mentor, Robert W. Davis, DVM, Please visit to read!

GP, you might like this post by our old veterinarian who retired some years back. One of his mentors in vet school was the same veterinarian who cared for the mules used by Merrill’s Marauders in Burma during WWII.”

Article about Dr, Davis

Dr. David E. Larsen, So. Korea

The most famous American unit of the CBI was the 5307th Composite Unit, also known as “Merrill’s Marauders.” Undertaking operations similar to those of the Chindits, it used large numbers of mules. Six Quartermaster pack troops were part of the unit, and mules were liberally issued to the rest of the unit as well to transport their own equipment and supplies. Each troop had about 300 mules and 75 men.

Dr. Robert Davis, India

During campaigns the mules proved their worth time and again. Don L. Thrapp served with the Marauders and later wrote of his experiences with the pack mules during the fighting at Tonkwa against the Japanese. “They were zeroed in on our bivouac area at a river crossing, and their fire caused us some casualties in men and animals. One tree burst accounted for seven animals. Another shell cut between two mules … and burst about eight feet behind them, but injured neither.”

In the words of a veteran of the China-Burma-India Theater, retired Technical Sergeant Edward Rock Jr., [they] “served without a word of complaint or lack of courage. They transported artillery, ammunition, food, and medicine, and under enemy fire transported the wounded. Many of the CBI veterans are here today because a mule stopped a bullet or a piece of shrapnel meant for the GI. Mules fell in battle, mortally wounded, and we shed tears for them.”

moving through Burma w/ supplies for the 475th Inf.

Pack mules indeed performed yeoman service in Asia and other theaters during World War II, hauling weapons and equipment as well as saving lives by carrying wounded off the front lines. They took the same risks as their human masters and too often they paid the ultimate price.

Wingate, Chindits & mules

A report on April 4, 1944, from one of the units of Merrill’s Marauders described their sacrifice in detail: Japanese artillery fire had killed or wounded most of the unit’s mules. The mules really proved their value in the CBI with both British and American units fighting there. The famous British Brigadier Orde Wingate used large numbers of mules to supply his Chindit Brigade.

Francis & Donald O’Connor in their movie.

After the war, the mules were not forgotten.  A beloved character, “Francis the talking mule.”  became a well-known movie. https://pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com/2020/04/20/francis-the-talking-mule/

I hope some of this has encouraged you to check out more….

David E. Larsen, DVM

Please be sure to visit Dr. Larsen’s site,  and Lavinia’s too, she deserves a big Thank You.

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Military Humor –

Farewell Salutes – 

John Bergman – Osbourne, KA; US Army, WWII, Bronze Star, Purple Heart

No greater love

John Boyko – Lansing, MI; US Navy, WWII, PTO, PT boat service

Biacio Casola – Bronx, NY; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Oklahoma, Seaman 1st Class, KIA (Pearl Harbor, HI)

Paul C. Charvet – Grandview, WA; USNR, Vietnam, Comd., A-1H Skyraider pilot, Attack Squadron 215, USS Bon Homme Richard, KIA (Thanh Hoa Prov., N.Vietnam)

Adabelle I. Crum – Lagrange, KY; US Women’s Marine Corps, WWII

Peter “Harmonica Pete” Dupree – Ogdensburg, NY; US Army, WWII, 4th General Hospital

Thomas Eubanks (103) – Springfield, OH; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, B-17 tail gunner

Terrance G. Fitzsimmons – NYC, NY; US Army, Korea

Claire Menker – Milford, MA; Civilian, WWII, Firestone Co., gas mask production

Harold J. Smith Jr. – Levittown, NY; US Navy, WWII

Thomas J. Wilson (102) – Petaluma, CA; US Army, WWII, ETO

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Lingayen Gulf | January 1945

The USS Louisville is struck by a kamikaze Yokosuka D4Y at the Battle of Lingayen Gulf, 6 January 1945

On 2 January, the US carrier, USS Ommaney Bay, was severely damaged by a kamikaze aircraft and would later need to be scuttled.  Three days later, the cruiser, USS Columbia, was also damaged when she was hit by 2 of the Japanese suicide planes.  US shipping received relentless kamikaze strikes that cost the Navy more than 1000 men due to those 30 hits.

Beginning on 6 January, a heavy naval and air bombardment of suspected Japanese defenses on Lingayen began.  Aircraft and naval artillery bombardment of the soon-to-be landing areas occurred, with kamikazes attacking again on the 7th.

USS Columbia, hit by kamikaze

On the 8th, it was observed that in the town of Lingayen, as a response to the prelanding shelling, Filipinos had begun to form a parade, complete with United States and Philippine flags – firing was shifted away from that area.

The USS Louisville had been hit on the 5th of January with one man killed and 52 wounded, including the captain.  The following day she was attacked by six successive plane, 5 were shot down, but one got through.

Rear Admiral Theodore Chandler

The strike on the Louisville was also notable for the death of RAdmiral Theodore Chandler, commanding the battleships and cruiser in Lingayen Gulf.  He was badly burned when his Flag ship was engulfed in flames, but jumped down to the signal deck and deployed hoses to the enlisted men before waiting in line for treatment with the other wounded sailors.  However, his lungs had been scorched by the petroleum flash and he died the following day.

An eye witness account of the attack on the USS Louisville, from John Duffy:

“All of a sudden, the ship shuddered and I knew we were hit again.  I was in charge of the 1st Division men and I yelled, “We’re hit, let’s go men!”  I was the first man out the Turret door followed by Lt. Commander Foster and Lt. Hastin, our Division Officer, then a dozen more men.

“The starboard side of the ship was on fire from the forecastle deck down.  One almost naked body was laying about ten feet from the turret with the top of his head missing.  It was the kamikaze pilot that had hit us.  He made a direct hit on the Communications deck.

“As the men poured out of the turret behind me, they just stood there in shock.  Explosions were still coming from the ammunition lockers at the scene of the crash.  We could see fire there too.  Injured men were screaming for help on the Communications Deck above us.  I ordered 2 men to put out the fire on the starboard side by leaning over the side with a hose.  That fire was coming from a ruptured aviation fuel pipe that runs full length of the forecastle on the outside of the ship’s hull.  That fuel pipe was probably hit by machine-gun bullets from the kamikaze just before he slammed into us.

USS Louisville during kamikaze attack

“Although there was no easy access to the deck above us, I ordered several men to scale up the side of the bulkhead (wall) and aid the badly burned victims who were standing there like zombies.  I also ordered 3 men to crawl under the rear Turret 1’s overhang, open the hatch there and get the additional fire hose from Officers Quarters.  These 3 orders were given only seconds apart and everyone responded immediately, but when they got near the dead Jap’s body, which was lying right in the way, it slowed them down…”

For some additional information on the Kamikaze, Click HERE.

The HMAS Australia was included in this fleet and would also come under heavy attack.  Her full story will be the following post.

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Military Humor – 

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Farewell Salutes – 

R.B. Cherry – Dallas, TX; US Army, Korea, Cpl., Co. G/2/24th Infantry Division, POW, KIA (Camp 5, NK)

Naomi Clark – Lima, OH; Civilian, WWII, Lima Army Tank Depot

The Flag flies in all weather, courtesy of Dan Antion

Alfred Guglielmetti (103) – Petaluma, CA; Civilian, WWII, Mare Island welder, battleship repair

Nancy Hussey – Bronxville, NY; US Coast Guard SPARS, WWII, Company Comdr. & coxswain

John M. Loncola (100) – Old Forge, PA; US Navy, WWII, CBI & PTO, Chief Petty Officer

Jocelyn L. Martin – Orewa, NZ; WRNZ Air Force, LACW # 77239

John R. Melton – Liberty, MS; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Seaman 1st Class # 2744530, USS West Virginia, KIA (Pearl Harbor, HI)

George Pendleton – Bristol. RI; US Navy, WWII

Robert E. Smith – San Francisco, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, fighter pilot

Robert Teza – Syracuse, NY; US Army, WWII, ETO

Richard Watson – Gorham, ME; US Army, WWII

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January 1945 cont’d

11th Airborne, Leyte

 

As the fighting for the 11th Airborne Division, on Leyte, came to a close, the battalions worked their way back to Bito Beach.  The 674th and 675th Glider Field Artillery and the 457th Parachute Field Artillery remained in strategic positions to cover them.

The Luzon Attack Force, commanded by VAdmiral Kinkaid, under MacArthur, was composed of 7th Fleet units and numbered more than 850 ships. This was divided into the Lingayen Attack Force (Vice Admiral Wilkinson commanding), the San Fabian Attack Force (Vice Admiral Barbey), a reinforcement group (R Admiral Conolly commanding), a fire support and bombardment group ( VAdmiral Oldendorf ) and surface and air covering groups (Rear Admiral Berkey and Rear Admiral C.T. Durgin, respectively, commanding). The Luzon Attack Force was to transport, put ashore and support elements of the 6th U.S. Army (Lieutenant General Walter Krueger) to assist in the seizure and development of the Lingayen area.

2→3 January – A military report showed that 111 enemy aircraft were destroyed on and above Formosa and the Ryukyu Islands.  B-24’s hit Haha Jima and Iwo Jima over a seven hour period and areas of Luzon and the Netherland East Indies (NEI) continued to be hit.

In preparation for the upcoming invasions of Iwo Jima, Okinawa and eventually Japan, Gen. MacArthur was placed in command of US ground forces and Adm. Nimitz over all naval forces.

3→4 January – the 3rd Fleet, operating under Admiral Halsey, with its fast carrier task force commanded by VAdmiral McCain, was to cover and protect the operation by air strikes over Luzon.  There was little airborne opposition, but unfavorable weather conditions somewhat reduced the toll of enemy ships, planes and facilities destroyed.

Yamashita’s division of Luzon

Early in January, Japan’s General Yamashita pulled his Fourteenth Army (260,000 men) back off of Luzon’s beach to conserve them. He was aware of the forthcoming invasions of American troops.

Yamashita divided his men into three defensive groups; the largest, the Shobu Group, under his personal command numbered 152,000 troops, defended northern Luzon. The smallest group, totaling 30,000 troops, known as the Kembu Group, under the command of Tsukada, defended Bataan and the western shores. The last group, the Shimbu Group, totaling 80,000 men under the command of Yokoyama, defended Manila and southern Luzon.

Yamashita tried to rebuild his army but was forced to retreat from Manila to the Sierra Madre Mts. of northern Luzon, as well as the Cordillera Central Mts. Yamashita ordered all troops, except those tasked with security, out of the city.

Almost immediately, IJN RAdm. Sanji  Iwabuchi re-occupied Manila with 16,000 sailors, with the intent of destroying all port facilities and naval storehouses. Once there, Iwabuchi took command of the 3,750 Army security troops, and against Yamashita’s specific order, turned the city into a battlefield.

Major Thomas McGuire

7 January – US pilot and ace, Major Thomas McGuire (38 victories) was killed in a low-level combat with a group of Japanese Zero fighters, led by Shiochi Sugita, the 3rd highest scoring ace of the IJN Air Force, over Negros Island.

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Military Humor – 

If it’s stupid, but it works > it ain’t stupid.

If at first you don’t succeed > call in an airstrike.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE.

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Farewell Salutes – 

James J. Bednarcik – Cleveland, OH; US Navy, WWII, PTO, SeaBee

Lawrence Brooks (112) – Norwood, LA; US Army, Australia, Pfc., 91st Engineering Battalion

Final Mission

Vincent D’Andrea – Sloatsburg, NY; US Navy, WWII, USS Broome

John Farnsworth (101) – Salem, MA; Civilian Conservation Corps  / US Army, WWII

David Gilbert (105) – South Bend, IN; US Navy, WWII

Richard “Dick” Lutes – Wiscasset, ME; US Navy, Vietnam, Chief Aviation Structural Mechanic, Black Beret, River PT Sailor

Timothy D. Minatrea – Quitman, TX; US Navy, Desert Storm, Aviation Electricians Mate 1st Class

David V. Nguyen – Oakland, CA; CA National Guard, 870th MP Co.

Charles A. Peachtree Jr. – Lexington, KY; US Army, WWII, infantry

Juanita Quintero (100) – Pinole, CA; Civilian, welder, Richmond Shipyards

Edwin Schmidt – Alton, IL; US Army, WWII, PTO, cartographer

Billy Turner – Ardmore, OK; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Seaman 1st Class, USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor, HI)

Wesley Woods – Hornlake, MS; US Army, MSgt., 1st Stryker Brigade/25th Infantry Division

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Closing 1944 with General Kenney

Gen. George C. Kenney

Being as the 5th Air Force, especially the 54th Troop Carrier Group, were operating so close to the 11th Airborne for so much of the war, I chose to finish up 1944 with the first-hand account from their commander….

 

General Kenney, Commander of the Fifth Air Force reported:

Sky Lancers

“Just before dark on 26 December, a Navy Reconnaissance plane sighted a Jap naval force of 1 heavy cruiser, 1 light cruiser and 6 destroyers about 85 miles NW of Mindoro {Philippines], headed toward San Jose.  We had available on out 2 strips there, 12 B-25s from the 71s Recon Squadron, the 58th Fighter Group (P-47s), the 8th Fighter Group (P-38s and the 110 Tactical Recon Squadron (P-40s).

“Every airplane that could fly took off on the attack, which continued until after midnight.  The Japs kept on coming and the planes kept shuttling back and forth, emptying their bomb racks and ammunition belts and returning for more.  In addition to the difficulty of locating and attacking the Nip vessels in the dark, the enemy made the job still harder by bombing our airdromes at intervals through the night.

“In order to see what they were bombing and strafing, some of our pilots actually turned their landing lights on the Jap naval vessels.  With neither time nor information for briefings during the operation, it was every man for himself and probably the wildest scramble the Nip or ourselves had ever been in.

“At 11:00 P.M. the enemy fleet started shelling our fields and kept it up for an hour.  Fires broke out in our gasoline dumps, airplanes were hit, the runways pitted, but the kids still kept up their attack.  The P-47s couldn’t get at their bomb dump because of the fire, so they simply loaded up with ammunition and strafed the decks of every ship in the Jap force.  They said it was “like flying over a blast furnace, with all those guns firing at us.”

“Shortly after midnight. the Jap fleet turned around and headed north. They had been hurt.  A destroyer had been sunk and a cruiser and 2 destroyers heavily damaged.

“The attack had saved our shipping at San Jose from destruction, but it had cost us something too.  Twenty-five fighter pilots and B-25 crew members missing.  We had lost 2 B-25s and 29 fighter aircraft.  During the next few days we picked up 16 of the kids who were still floating around the China Sea in their life rafts.  I got Gen. MacArthur to approve a citation for each of the units that took part in the show.

417th, Lindbergh with Col. Howard Ellmore

On the 30th, Lt.Col. Howard S. Ellmore, a likable, happy-go-lucky, little blond boy from Shreveport, LA, leading the 417th Attack Group, the “Sky Lancers” caught a Jap convoy in Lingayen Gulf, off Vigan on the west coast of Luzon.  In a whirlwind low-level attack, a destroyer, a destroyer escort, 2 large freighters and one smaller were sunk.

“It was a fitting climax to 1944, which had been an advance from Finschaven to Mindoro, a distance of 2400 miles, equal to that from Washington to San Francisco.  During that time, my kids had sunk a half million tons of Jap shipping and destroyed 3000 Jap aircraft.  Our losses of aircraft in combat during the year were 818.”

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Military Humor – 

“OKAY – You got the C-17 ON the carrier -NOW, how are you going to get it OFF?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Marvin D. Actkinson – Sudan, TX;US Army, Korea, Cpl., Co B/1/32/7th Infantry Division, KIA (Chosin Reservoir, NK)

Hugh R. Alexander – Potters Mills, PA; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Lt. Comdr., USS Oklahoma, Silver Star, KIA (Pearl Harbor, HI)

Kenneth Barhite – Alden, IA; US Army, WWII, PTO, 2nd Lt.,158th RCT/Americal Division

Mary M. Bevan – Greenwich, CT; USMC, WWII

Louis Block – Chicago, IL; US Navy, WWII

Hubert P. Clement – Inman, SC; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Fire Controlman 1st Class # 2619359, USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor, HI)

Clayton L. Cope – Alton, IL; US Navy, USS Eisenhower

Donald Peterson – Auburn, CA; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Lt., USS Rotanin

Tceollyar Simmons – Hacoda, AL; US Navy, WWII, Seaman 2nd Class # 3115534, USS California, KIA (Pearl Harbor, HI)

Thomas Smith (100) – Early Branch, SC; US Navy, WWII, Radioman 1st Class

Harvey Swack – OH; US Navy, WWII, PTO, aircraft mechanic

Larry Virden – Edwardsville, IL; US Army, Iraq

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SANTA’S ON HIS WAY!!

Leyte, eye-witness account from Gen. Robert Eichelberger

Gen. Douglas MacArthur, left, Lt. Gen. Robert L. Eichelberger, right.

“Eighth Army took over Leyte on Christmas Day.  There were 8 divisions fighting there when I assumed command.  When the 32nd Div. and 1st Cavalry broke through on a narrow front, GHQ described the Leyte campaign as officially closed and future operations as “mopping-up.”

“Actually, the Japanese Army was still intact.  I was told there were only 6,000 Japanese left on the island.  This estimate was in serious error.  Soon, Japanese began streaming across the Ormoc Valley, well equipped and apparently well-fed.  It took several months of the roughest kind of combat to defeat this army.  Between Christmas Day and the end of the campaign, we killed more than 27,000 Japanese.

Leyte painting, “FOLLOW ME!” by Col Aubrey Newman

“Many others, evacuated safely by bancas (small boats), and reappeared to fight the 8th Army on other islands.  I called these singularly alive veteran troops the Ghosts of Leyte.

“I am a great admirer of Gen. MacArthur as a military strategist…  But I must admit that after 6 years serving under him, I never understood the public relations policy that either he or his assistants established.  It seems to me ill advised to announce victories when a first phase had been accomplished…

“Too often, as at Buna, Sanananda, as on Leyte, Mindanao and Luzon, the struggle was to go on for a long time. Often these announcements produce bitterness among combat troops, and with good cause.  The phrase “mopping-up” had no particular appeal for a haggard, muddy sergeant of the Americal Division whose platoon had just been wiped out in western Leyte…  Or to the historian of the 11th Airborne, who wrote:

‘Through mud and rain, over treacherous rain-swollen gorges, through jungle growth, over slippery, narrow, root-tangled, steep foot trails, the Angels pushed wet to clear the Leyte mountain range…  It was bitter, exhausting, rugged fighting – physically the most terrible we were ever to know.’

11th Airborne field artillery on Leyte

The combat infantryman deserved the best and usually fared the poorest in the matter of sugar plums, luxuries and mail from home.  The home folks in America were vastly generous, but transport to the front could not always carry out their good intentions.  Ammunition and rations came first.  This – the G.I. could understand… But, it was disconcerting to find out he had only been “mopping -up”.

“If there is another war, I recommend that the military and the correspondents and everyone else concerned, drop the phrase “mopping-up” from their vocabularies.  It is NOT a good enough phrase to die for.”

This post is from “Our Jungle Road to Tokyo” by General Robert Eichelberger.

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE.

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Military Humor –

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Farewell Salutes – 

Clifford H. Bailey – Acoma, NM; (Acoma Indian Reservation); US Army Air Corps, Japanese Occupation, 11th Airborne Division

Benjamin R. Bazzell – Seymour, CT; US Army, Korea, Cpl; HQ/57FA/7th Infantry Division, KIA (Chosin Reservoir, NK)

Chester Benoit – Putnam, CT; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 503/11th Airborne Division

James E. Cruise – Toronto, CAN; RC Air Force, WWII, Navigator/ Flight Officer

Charles W. Harpe Jr. – Ashland, KY; USMC, WWII, Korea & Vietnam, Captain (Ret. 33 y.)

Anthony F. Mendonca – Waipahu, HI; US Army, WWII, PTO, Co A/106/27th Infantry Division, KIA (Saipan)

Lawrence Overley – Los Angeles, CA; US Navy, WWII, Fire Controlman 2nd Class #3820643, USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor, HI)

Robert Leslie Putnam – Mason, OH; US Army Air Corps, Japanese Occupation / Korea, 188 &187th/11th Airborne Division // Deputy Sheriff, Police Chief

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/224877961/robert-leslie-putnam

James N. Stryker – W.Nanticoke, PA; US Army, Korea, Sgt., Co. L/3/23/2nd Infantry Division, KIA (Han’gye, SK)

Morris E. Swackhammer – Binghamton, NY; US Army, WWII, ETO, Pfc., Co. C/1/143/36th Infantry Division, KIA (Fraize, FRA)

Flora Wilhelm – Evansville, IN; Civilian, WWII, aircraft riveter

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